Traverse City Record-Eagle

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May 17, 2013

Low-flying helicopters are coming

TRAVERSE CITY — Don’t worry: the low-flying helicopters buzzing through northern Michigan are not from the United Nations or some secret government agency.

The choppers are instead from electricity transmission company ITC Michigan, which is inspecting high-voltage transmission towers and power lines from the air through May 25.

“Quite a bit of activity in Grand Traverse County and Wexford, and a couple of counties nearby,” said Joe Kirik, spokesman for ITC Michigan. “We have a major substation in Grand Traverse, the Keystone substation, where several lines connect, so you’ll see a fair amount of activity.”

The Novi-based company does twice-a-year aerial examinations because of requirements from the North American Electrical Reliability Corporation (NERC). Inspections will target steel towers, wood poles, conductors, insulators and other equipment. Crews check for damaged or worn equipment and vegetation hazards.

The company said inspection flights are conducted at low altitudes.

“This is normal procedure, so there is no cause for alarm if a low-flying helicopter is sighted near transmission lines,” company officials said.

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